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B.C. drug boss likely set up botched hit on witness against him: U.S. court documents

Kim Bolan, Postmedia Network

Photo of Kevin Kerfoot taken from his Facebook page. (Facebook)

Photo of Kevin Kerfoot taken from his Facebook page. (Facebook)

A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to leading a cross-border drug smuggling operation likely arranged the attempted murder of a witness in the case, new U.S. court documents reveal.

Kevin Donald Kerfoot, 53, was sentenced in Seattle Thursday to 13 years in jail after entering a guilty plea in April following an unsuccessful 10-year fight to remain in Canada.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said Kerfoot “was involved with a tremendous amount of drugs.”

A sentencing memo filed in the case also linked Kerfoot with the attempted murder of Reg Purdom, a key witness against Kerfoot and a former associate who was critically wounded in a shooting in Kelowna last August.

The U.S. sentencing memo says "it appears that Kerfoot decided to have (Purdom) killed in a last-ditch attempt to silence him before Kerfoot’s extradition could be completed."

The alleged shooter, Tyrone Reynolds McGee, is facing seven charges, including attempted murder and possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm.

U.S. officials said in their sentencing memo that before the shooting, Purdom “had fallen back into drug use and drug trafficking, including with Kerfoot.”

“On August 2, 2016 — approximately two weeks after Kerfoot lost his intermediate appeal of his extradition — Kerfoot asked (Purdom) to go meet with another drug trafficker to pick up narcotics in a parking lot in British Columbia," the documents state.

While Purdom was waiting in his vehicle “a man on a bicycle pulled up next to him and shot him seven to eight times with a semi-automatic pistol equipped with a silencer,” the documents state.

“He managed to put his vehicle in gear and run down the shooter before he could reload. The shooter also survived and is pending trial in Canada for the attempted murder. According to the RCMP, he has refused to make any statement about whom he was working for, and the investigation is ongoing.”

Purdom’s evolving role as a witness in the U.S. case against his former friend has been the subject of several court rulings in B.C.

He implicated Kerfoot in statements to U.S. agents after getting caught on Oct. 5, 2005, with a bag containing more than 24,000 ecstasy pills.

Hours earlier, Purdom drove a powerboat across the border into Washington to pick up 41 kilos of cocaine and drop off the black bag full of ecstasy.

What he didn't know was that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had been tipped off and had already arrested another man involved, Randall Canupp, who agreed to cooperate.

Undercover agents accompanied Canupp, with the cocaine, to meet Purdom.

After Purdom's arrest, he also agreed to co-operate, calling some of Kerfoot's U.S. contacts to arrange cocaine deliveries while the agents listened in. He also identified Kerfoot as the mastermind of the drug smuggling operation.

Charges were laid against Kerfoot on July 20, 2006, a month before Purdom pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 54 months in jail.

After Purdom returned to Canada, he signed an affidavit recanting his statements against Kerfoot.

The U.S. sentencing memo says that after Purdom was shot, he “recanted his recantation” and “re-affirmed that Kerfoot was the leader of the smuggling operation.”

“He admitted to submitting false sworn testimony in the Canadian extradition proceeding, at Kerfoot’s request. He also confirmed that Kerfoot had offered him cash and employment opportunities (including in the drug trafficking business) after his return to Canada in return for signing the two false recantation affidavits,” the memo says.

Purdom also said “that Kerfoot made a not-so-veiled threat against him.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Lombardi said in the memo that “Kerfoot repeatedly suborned perjury” in addition to “likely” ordering the hit on Purdom.

But he also said there is no direct evidence implicating Kerfoot in the shooting.

“Indeed, if there was direct evidence, either the Canadian or U.S. governments would likely have charged him for that offence,” he said.

“However, circumstantial evidence does suggest Kerfoot did order the hit.”

Lombardi said Kerfoot “appears to have had every advantage growing up,” yet still became a criminal.

“His parents, by his own account, were loving and provided for him. His brother is a wildly successful business person, who also provided Kerfoot with many opportunities to make a lawful living. Kerfoot appears to have wilfully chosen a life of crime,” Lombardi’s memo says.

His brother, Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot, declined through a spokesman to comment.

U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said in a statement that Kevin Kerfoot couldn't avoid justice despite his delay tactics in the case.

“This defendant tried to avoid facing the music by getting people to lie during his Canadian extradition proceedings,” she said. “Perhaps he thought he could fight a war of attrition — but this office and our law enforcement partners are committed to holding leaders of drug trafficking organizations responsible for the poison they spread both here and in Canada.”

kbolan@postmedia.com

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